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The Health Insurance Association of America has made some star- tling discoveries about the need for disability insurance in this coun- try. They estimate that a 35-year-old worker has a 12-percent chance of becoming disabled for a three-month period. By the time a worker reaches the age of 55, this chance has increased more than five times, to a 70-percent chance! Interestingly enough, these odds are the same as the odds for death. However, most people have life insur- ance, but no disability insurance. Why take the chance that you could perhaps become disabled and not have any protection to help you financially get through that time?

The best way to protect yourself against the adverse effects of being unable to work due to a disability is to purchase disability insurance (DI). This form of insurance will provide income to you and your family on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis, as long as the injury or illness is covered by the insurance. There are a few forms of DI that workers can obtain; here we cover the three main types. The first comes from the government in the form of Social Security disability benefits. The second is from a worker’s employer, and the third is DI purchased by the worker.

The need for some sort of DI is great, but, it is often over- looked. People are too concerned with insuring their lives, the lives of their children, and preparing for other types of life changes, such as a college education or retirement. Unfortunately, for most peo- ple, any missed time at work would be financially devastating. While you are off work and are using whatever savings you have, you could wind up wiping out most, if not all, of the savings you have accumulated for yourself. Many times, workers do receive some type of DI as part of their benefits from their employer, but that may not be enough.

What Is a Disability? Disability policies will all have a specific definition for what is con- sidered a disability. Some policies will have a very broad interpreta- tion of the word, while others will adhere to a rather strict definition. The most liberal definition is known as the “own occupation” rule. It

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